The Detroit News published a report recently that brought to light shocking hygiene shortcomings at Detroit Medical Center (DMC). The News reported – and the findings weren’t contradicted by DMC administrators, who acknowledge there are problems to fix – that among other things surgeries were cancelled because of unsterile instruments. Time will tell what the hospital does to fix its issues. For the time being, you have to believe patient confidence is seriously shaken. That DMC acknowledges the system needs to be fixed is at least encouraging. What they do, and how quickly, will be something to watch.
Dirty, missing instruments plague DMC surgeries appears in the Detroit News. It says that “more than 200 pages of internal emails and reports indicating that surgeons and staffers have complained for at least 11 years about improperly cleaned, broken and missing instruments. The complaints have continued under the tenure of the for-profit Tenet Healthcare of Dallas, Texas, which acquired the DMC in 2013, the documents show. The records show improperly sterilized tools complicated operations from appendectomies and brain surgeries to cleft palate repair and spinal fusions. Patients were kept under anesthesia for up to an hour as staffers replaced instruments. Dozens of operations were canceled at the last minute, some after anesthesia was administered.” The paper also notes in Hospital records kept from public that the internal reports and emails aren’t made public and were “cloaked in secrecy by Michigan law. State and federal agencies collect a substantial amount of data, but allow hospitals to supply it voluntarily on the condition that much of it is kept confidential. That means only the broadest information — typically about regional rates or whether hospitals are above or below averages — is available to the public.”